(CLIVE, Iowa) — There are now 5,471 Iowa pork production sites that have been assessed through the industry’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus program. This marks a significant milestone, including nearly 14,000 Iowans who are certified in the PQA Plus training program.

PQA Plus was launched in 2007 as a continuous improvement program that outlines good production practices in the areas of food safety and animal well-being. Participating producers and their staffs are first certified through an education program. Following certification, a producer invites a PQA Plus advisor on to the farm to conduct an objective assessment of practices and procedures.      

A random sample of assessed pork production sites is selected annually to receive third-party verification of the program. Data from that verification will be used to help determine any areas needing improvement as well as increased producer/staff education.

“PQA Plus certification and the site assessment process helps show customers that we care about our animals and the safety of food we produce and aids in continuous improvement of our industry,” said Leon Sheets, 2011 Iowa Pork Producers Association president. “Iowa pork producers take great pride in providing a safe, wholesome and healthy product for consumers around the world.”

PQA Plus is part of the industry aligned We Care responsible pork initiative. This initiative outlines ethical principles for pork producers to produce safe food, protect and promote animal well-being, protect public health, safeguard natural resources, provide a safe work environment and contribute to a better quality of life in our communities.

For more information about PQA Plus, We Care or other IPPA producer education programs, go to www.iowapork.org.

Source: IPPA